Pr02b2_New Direction in Government and Society- Ancient Rome: The Fasces and Monarchy (Slide by Slide Description)
Click on Pr02b2_Ancient Rome- The Fasces and Monarchy to view the slides that accompany these descriptions.
Cover Slide: “SPQR“. Represents republican Rome’s creed. As an acronym, it stands for “Senatus Populusque Romanus” => The Senate and People of Rome. Such a phrase/ acronym would be affixed at the end of official documents and public monuments.
We now enter the monarchy period of ancient Rome’s history. The period stretches for 244 years. It is sometimes referred to as the Etruscan Period because the city of Rome was ruled by monarchs from its much more powerful neighbor- The Etruscans.
The Etruscans were from the North of Rome centered around the Italian region known today as Tuscany (whose name is derived from ‘Etruscan’). Along with the Greeks and Latins, the Etruscans were major contributors to Roman cultural development.
Slide #2: I posted the same Roman town template I used in the first presentation of this series (Pr02b). The Pomerium was described in that presentation, but is here reintroduced since it has a role to play vis-a-vis the Fasces.
Slide #3: The Fasces was a device that historians have traced to the Etruscan monarchial period. Though it may look like a weapon, it’s purpose is purely symbolic. Most Roman citizens would know what it means when they saw it. It could be small enough to be cradled in the arms of a Lictor (whose role, among others, was to carry the device while walking behind the person who is vested with the authority it represented). Or, the device could be much larger to be carried on a bearer’s shoulder during a procession. The larger size improved its visibility to viewers who would be expected to crowd around the procession as it moved along. Historians now know that the component parts of the device had a symbolic meaning.
Slide #4 – 11: Many of you may not recognize the Fasces, but it doesn’t mean you’ve never seen it. These images all show a Fasces and it’s quite possible you’ve seen them multiple times, never once asking what the object was. Of course, it’s easy to connect the Fasces with the fascists depicted on the WWII era stamp (Etymologically, Fasces => Fascists).
Slide #5: Symbolic meaning of the main components of the Fasces.
Several government officials (magistrates) would be vested with this device, implying the authority that official will wield. Of the three I listed on the slide, I left the third official unnamed. I will reveal that during class discussions. Students are sure to find that individual to be surprising.
Slide #6: WWII era stamp issued by Germany
Slide #7: Pre-WWII US Dime coin.
Slide #8: Flag of Brooklyn, NY.
Slide #9: Medal of Honor (Highest military honor the US government can bestow upon a person in the armed forces.)
Slide #10: Speaker’s podium of the US House of Representatives.
Slide #11: The Lincoln Memorial.